Mike Massé is called “The new voice of Classic rock” throughout the world as a solo, duo, and a full band. There’s quite a bit of versatility in his voice and his musical stylings. If you don’t believe me, check out his YouTube and a highlight of his music below.
As the new voice of classic rock, he takes classic rock songs and remakes them in such a way that they’re still classical. Breathing new life into old music, Massé doesn’t launch the music into a new genre or key or style as many other artists do.
“I’m choosing songs that I think are great, they’re relatively perfect and that’s why they don’t need to be changed. I get many people who tell me like, “Thank you for treating it respectively or like, thank you for like not ruining this song,” Explains Massé, “I’m sort of archiving this for a new generation in some ways because I have a lot of fans who are younger than ever heard the original.”
Take his most prominent cover. He’s a known musician by his fans and other musicians with his cover of “Africa” by Toto. This classic rock song brought his music to the forefront of everyone’s mind with his cover from 2010. Check it out for yourself and you’ll know why it got him to where he is today.
It is one of his top shared YouTube videos with over 13 million views. Some of those views come from a rather surprising place. Not only does his audience love the cover but so did the original artists of the song, Toto. It all started with a simple email exchange between Massé and Steve “Luke” Lukather (the virtuoso lead guitarist for Toto). Lukather was very enthusiastic about the cover and thanked Massé for covering it. People were sharing it with Toto constantly! He writes to his fans that this was an amazing moment for him to actually meet the band, TOTO. It didn’t stop just at a simple meeting.
“I was not prepared for what happened when I met David Paich, the one who wrote ‘Africa’. I was so honoured to meet the man behind the song. But I did not expect him to seem excited to meet me or even know who I was. The greeting I got blew me away, and still gives me chills to this day, just thinking about it,” Massé continues.
Not only did Paich love the cover, but he mentioned that he shows it to people whenever they come over to his home. That’s an amazing achievement for an artist and their cover song. Toto isn’t the only band that has shared their love for Massé’s music. Sarah McLaughlin, Rush, Asia, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Boston, Dennis DeYoung (Styx) and Third Eye Blind have all expressed their love of his cover songs and sound in general. With over 281,000 subscribers on YouTube, it’s not a surprise that he’s been so highly acclaimed by his audience.
He came from a place of music from a young age. There was a piano in his home that his sisters used to take lessons. At the time, Massé was too young. Unlike his sisters, he didn’t grow out of the instrument and instead continued to let his talent for music flourish throughout his childhood. This led to him getting an electric guitar at the age of 10 and then a keyboard synthesizer in Junior High and ending with an acoustic guitar in High school. However, this didn’t lead him to a musical career early on. Massé didn’t start as a musician, but instead a public defender.
In an interview with Switching Styles, Massé explains that he became a lawyer for practical reasons.
“I have always had a sort of innate sense of justice, or maybe injustice. sometimes I speak up even when I shouldn’t, and so I always kind of like the inherent skill of advocacy, and so I became a public defender because I really wanted to do criminal law. To me, I didn’t even really care which side of it was on. Being a public defender appealed to me way more than being a private defence attorney. You’re working with the people that society has kind of shunned or forgotten in some ways, and you’re getting them at their lowest point, and they need a friendly face. I mean, they need help. And a lot of time, it’s about damage control. You know, you’re trying to make sure that they’re treated fairly by the system.”
His cover of “Africa” was the catalyst that he needed to make the transition from part-time musician and full-time lawyer to full-time musician. The transition between a public defender and a full-time musician was rather simple and smooth. There’s quite a bit in common between lawyers and musicians.
“I actually know a lot of lawyers who are musicians. I don’t know what the correlation would be, but they tend to attract the same people sometimes,” He continues.
That single cover led to increasing interest from more than just fans for his audience but professionals in the music industry. Gaining interest from a manager in Nashville, he got together with musicians and recorded a CD.
Massé said, “it was a CD of covers but with a full band, like with a few musicians. It was really cool but that guy, Richard showed me that the industry is a good fit for me at this point. Maybe there is enough interest and maybe I can make this work.”
From simple beginnings, he’s gone to great and amazing heights. He’s on tour now throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe with concert stops in Miami, FL, Beaverton, OR, Denver, CO, New York, NY, London, UK, Liverpool, UK, Toronto, Montreal, St Luis, and Amsterdam.
“I sing because I love it. The fact that other people enjoy hearing it, that’s my side benefit, but that’s not why I do it. I just sing, I just do it. And I think that helps. I know that it has helped people because they’ve told me.”